Zaza Pachulia

NBA Modifies Closeout, Continuation Rules

The NBA has decided to re-evaluate how it handles two particular fouling situations, Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press writes, and two players will see their names live on in notoriety as a result.

In what can colloquially be referred to as the Zaza Pachulia rule, officials will be granted authority to look at replays and make a judgment call as to whether or not a defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way after defending a shot. If necessary, the official can assign a flagrant or technical foul accordingly.

Pachulia’s name is the first to come to mind considering the impact that one particular moment this past spring had on the Western Conference semifinal. That series saw Kawhi Leonard fall to a sprained ankle after landing on a conspicuously positioned Pachulia foot after a closeout.

The second fouling situation that will be viewed differently in 2017/18 pertains to continuation. Officials, Mahoney writes, will now ensure that shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a foul out on the perimeter is worthy of free throws.

Cited in the report as a common perpetrator of milking continuation calls is Rockets guard James Harden. By limiting the number of perimeter foul calls that lead to free throws, the league will disincentivize players from forcing unnatural shots after absorbing content.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Warriors, Pachulia, Kerr

Numerous reports have suggested that LeBron James – who is set to hit free agency next season — is the Lakers‘ top target. While acquiring James alone would be great, pairing him with another elite talent is the goal and Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines who that ideal player could be.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George are the obvious two names. The California natives could both hit free agency; George is nearly certain to test the market after one season with the Thunder whereas his new teammate Westbrook has a maximum deal on the table. Whether Westbrook eventually decides to accept that deal will significantly impact the market.

Pincus also looks at bigger players, like DeMarcus Cousins, who could be paired with James in Los Angeles. However, the goal, for now, is to clear as much cap space possible; and Luol Deng‘s albatross of a deal is the biggest priority.

Check out other news around the Pacific Division:

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Len, Thompson

After years counterbalancing James Harden‘s offensive presence in Houston, Patrick Beverley will step into a larger role as Chris Paul‘s replacement with the Clippers, James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders writes.

Not only has the veteran guard embraced the trade to the Clippers, he asked for the change of scenery. Now the 29-year-old will get a chance to showcase what he’s capable of above and beyond his reputation as a tenacious perimeter defender.

While Beverley will have big shoes to fill even on the defensive side of the ball – Paul was the only player that ranked higher than him in defensive real plus minus – he brings leadership qualities that should help the Clippers franchise in the midst of a critical transition.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

Pacific Notes: Kings, Ball, Warriors, Jordan

The decision to remove DeMarcus Cousins from the equation has brought a sense of happiness and hope around the moribund Kings franchise, Nick Zappulla of RealGM opines. The pieces are now in place for a quick turnaround via the acquisition of Buddy Hield in the trade with the Pelicans along with four promising rookies taken in the draft, particularly floor leader De’Aaron Fox and forward Harry Giles, Zappulla continues. Big men Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein showed progress once Cousins was removed from the picture and the club also brought in three veteran free agents to facilitate the development of the young players, Zappulla adds.

In other items regarding the Pacific Division:

  • The league’s television partners certainly have Lonzo Ball fever, as evidenced by the Lakers’ 35 nationally-televised games next season, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register notes. That’s the fifth-most national broadcasts among all teams despite the franchise coming off a 26-win season. Much of it can be attributed to lottery pick Ball, both for his passing skills and the hype-man routine of his father LaVar, Oram adds.
  • The Warriors’ center rotation is unlikely to change next season despite the presence of some promising young players at the back end, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Zaza Pachulia will continue to start with JaVale McGee backing him up and David West getting minutes there at the start of second quarters, according to Slater. Damian Jones, who was inconsistent in summer-league play, or rookie Jordan Bell could force their way into the rotation at some point, Slater adds.
  • Center DeAndre Jordan realizes the Clippers won’t be the same team without Chris Paul, but expects point guard additions Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic to keep the franchise among the best in the West, Jovan Buha of ESPN.com reports. “Those guys are going to come in and play their style of basketball, and it’s going to be fun,” Jordan told Buha.

Players Who Can Veto Trades In 2017/18

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, but one such provision has been the subject of much discussion so far in 2017, as Carmelo Anthony made use of his NTC to block the Knicks from sending him to an undesirable destination. For much of the offseason, Anthony was focused on joining the Rockets, but he eventually agreed to a deal that sent him to Oklahoma City.

Anthony is one of just two NBA players whose contract includes an explicit no-trade clause, but there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals, though no restricted free agents have signed their QOs so far this year.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2017/18 league year:

No-trade clauses

Players whose offer sheets were matched

  • Otto Porter (Wizards)
    • Note: Even with his consent, Porter cannot be traded to the Nets during the 2017/18 league year.

Players accepting qualifying offers

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

In addition to the players listed above who can veto trades through the 2017/18 league year, there’s another small handful of players who can’t be dealt under any circumstance until at least next July. The following players signed a Designated Veteran Extension this season, which precludes them from being traded for a full calendar year:

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

Warriors Re-Sign Zaza Pachulia

The Warriors have re-signed Zaza Pachulia, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. The big man will receive a raise this year, in the form of a one-year, $3.5MM deal.

The 20% pay increase is the most the franchise could give the Georgian center, Anthony Slater of the Mercury News adds and will – per Bobby Marks of ESPN – increase the franchise’s luxury tax bill significantly, as much as $8.8MM in tax alone.

In 70 games for the Dubs this season, Pachulia posted 6.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. His biggest contribution to the team, however, is his physical presence in the paint.

 

Free Agent Rumors: Wolves, Knicks, Waiters, Jazz

The Timberwolves were linked to free agent swingman C.J. Miles earlier today, but weren’t necessarily considered a probable landing spot for Miles due to the team’s lack of cap flexibility. However, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), who passed along the initial report on Miles, the Pacers are open to the idea of a sign-and-trade which would net them Cole Aldrich‘s contract and OKC’s 2018 first-round pick from Minnesota.

Both teams would have to agree on that sign-and-trade scenario, and of course Miles would also have to be on board, so there may be some snags along the way. But as Wolfson points out, there are ways for the Wolves to get creative if they really want to land Miles or another free agent.

Wolfson has more on the Wolves, tweeting that he has heard the team made an offer to Nick Young. That offer would likely be worth the $4.3MM room exception, and Young turned down a $5.67MM player option with the Lakers last month, so I’d be surprised if Minnesota’s offer is enough to land him, but the club clearly remains on the lookout for shooting help.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Knicks continue to stay in touch with free agent guard Dion Waiters, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Waiters and Rajon Rondo remain on the Lakers‘ radar.
  • With Gordon Hayward and Otto Porter off the board, the Jazz have expressed interest in Rudy Gay, says Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As Royce Young of ESPN tweets, Patrick Patterson essentially took the deal that Gay was unwilling to with the Thunder, so OKC may be out, leaving the Heat and Jazz as the top contenders for Gay.
  • Having already brought back nearly all of their key free agents, the Warriors are also considered likely to re-sign Zaza Pachulia, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • After a strong showing for the Pistons in Summer League play, Eric Moreland is believed to have received a multiyear contract offer from Detroit, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, Paul, Teodosic, Pachulia, Heat

Michael Grange of Sportsnet spoke to NBA team sources, as well as longtime player agents, to delve into Kyle Lowry‘s free agency. Grange writes that “it is becoming increasingly evident that Lowry will take the opportunity to test the market.” He also adds that the Raptors are the only team that can guarantee a fifth year in a contract offer to Lowry and can pay more over four years than any other suitor. Grange finds a consensus among his sources that Lowry will not be receiving a max deal out in the market and that “his ceiling will top out at $30 million annually, although that would most likely be on a shorter deal.”

Here are some other relevant free agent rumors:

  • According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (link via Twitter),  Chris Paul and his agents met with the Clippers on Tuesday and discussed the player’s future. Paul’s camp and Clippers officials will speak again soon.
  • Milos Teodosic announced that he will likely leave his Russian team and wishes to play in the NBA, via Novosti by way of Sportando“I will not stay with CSKA Moscow almost for sure. But I don’t know yet where I will continue my career,” Teodosic said. “Going to the NBA is my wish but when I will know where, I will say that.”
  • Zaza Pachulia back with the Hawks? The reunion is an interesting idea that Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution floats, as the team has just one center at present (Miles Plumlee) and Pachulia is an unrestricted free agent and likely to move on from the Warriors. Furthermore, Vivlamore points out that Atlanta’s new GM Travis Schlenk knows Pachulia from his time with the Dubs.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald asks and answers key questions about the Heat‘s free agency. If Miami were to land Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin, could they still keep James Johnson or Dion Waiters? Jackson says it would be difficult but not impossible. Click through for his detailed answer.

Warriors Rumors: Free Agents, Iguodala, Livingston

It has been less than four full days since the Warriors won Game 5 of the NBA Finals and captured their second title in three years, but fans and observers are already looking ahead to see how Golden State intends to keep its championship roster together. Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News takes a deep dive into that subject today, breaking down the Warriors’ salary cap options and providing a handful of insider tidbits as well. Let’s round up the highlights…

  • Multiple NBA sources have told Kawakami that it’s all about the Warriors’ Big Four and Andre Iguodala, suggesting that the team won’t break the bank for anyone else on the roster. That includes free-agents-to-be like Zaza Pachulia, David West, Ian Clark, and JaVale McGee.
  • Out of that group of the Warriors’ top five players, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Iguodala are all eligible to become free agents. Kawakami expects Curry to receive a five-year, super-max deal worth upwards of $205MM, while Durant appears willing to accept a 20% raise rather than the full max, allowing the club to stay over the cap to re-sign Iguodala and possibly others.
  • Assuming Durant settles for a 20% raise, look for Iguodala to sign a multiyear deal worth between $8MM and $12MM annually, says Kawakami. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate has suggested he expects to re-sign with Golden State and that negotiations are almost done. If another team swoops in with a massive offer, it’s possible Iguodala reconsiders his options, but at that this point, the main question appears to be how many years will be on his new Warriors contract.
  • Shaun Livingston‘s situation is “much more open-ended,” with Kawakami pegging the odds of the point guard’s return as a coin flip. Kawakami speculates that a one- or two-year deal worth $6-7MM per year would be feasible for the Warriors, but Livingston will likely do better than that on the open market.
  • As Kawakami points out, it’s worth keeping an eye on the tax apron, which is projected to be around $127MM for 2017/18. If a team wants to use its full mid-level exception and/or bi-annual exception, it can’t exceed the apron at any point during the league year. If the Warriors go over that number, they’ll be limited to the taxpayer MLE – worth about $5.2MM – and minimum salary contracts for any additional signings.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Durant, Livingston, Kerr

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are willing to be flexible with their contracts to give the Warriors the best shot at repeating, relays Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Curry is eligible for a five-year mega max deal this summer worth about $205MM. His contract would start at about $35.5MM next season and climb to roughly $46.7MM in the final year. “As we go into talks and this whole process — which is obviously new for me — I will approach it as getting the most as I can as an individual, as a player, something I’ve been working for for a very long time,” Curry said. “In the context of keeping the team together, if there are decisions that need to be made, we’ll talk about [a slightly smaller deal] for sure.”

Durant would be eligible for the same contract, but because he just signed with the team last summer, the Warriors don’t have his Bird rights. They would have to renounce Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston to open enough cap space for Durant. An alternative is a 20% raise from this season, which would bump Durant’s salary to $31.8MM and permit Golden State to go over the cap to keep Iguodala and Livingston. “I feel as though I am going to be back here — no question,” Durant said. “We’ll all figure something out, work something out. I want to be here.”

There’s more news out of Golden State:

  • Past dynasties have demonstrated that not everyone can receive fair market value, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. The toughest decisions this summer will involve Iguodala, Zaza Pachulia and David West, three unrestricted veteran free agents who may be looking at their last chance for big-money contracts.
  • Another of Golden State’s 10 free agents is Livingston, who also prefers to stay with the Warriors, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Livingston could be looking at a substantial raise after making a combined $16.5MM in his three years with Golden State. “I think we’ll all love to keep this group together and see what we’re able to accomplish together,” Livingston said. “But we’ll see what happens when that time comes. There’s obviously a domino effect. Guys have decisions to make, but it’s about enjoying this journey, this moment that we’re on right now.”
  • Steve Kerr discusses his unusual role in the title run and his future in coaching in a podcast with Zach Lowe of ESPN.com.
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